Nothing says summer like a music festival. But after a few days of sitting in the sun, drinking local beers and listening to amazing music, you might be ready for some activity. These four summer music festivals offer stunning lineups in towns with incredible outdoor opportunities.
Newport Folk Festival, July 26-28th
Now in its 54th season, the Newport Folk Festival continues to deliver a strong lineup of musicians. This year’s featured artists include Feist, The Avett Brothers, and The Lumineers. Although Newport, RI might not conjure images of rugged outdoor adventures, the area has a number of choices for the avid outdoorsperson. You can rent a kayak in Wickford (20 minutes west of Newport) and spend the day exploring the bay. Or, if you prefer land-based adventures, check out the North-South Trail, which extends along the state’s western border. At nearly 75 miles long, most of the trail is open to mountain bikers as well as to backpackers.
Bele Chere Festival, Asheville, North Carolina, July 26-28th
Free to the public, this festival caters to the generalist: rather than specializing in a single genre of the music, Bele Chere brings in a variety of artists. This year, the list includes Dan Deacon, The Mountain Goats, and Wanda Jackson. If you’re ambitious, you can spend the morning bouldering at Rumbling Bald (almost 900 problems) and the afternoon listening to live music. Other options including hiking and mountain biking in Pisgah National Forest or whitewater rafting on the French Broad.
Targhee Bluegrass Festival, August 9-11th
Tucked behind the Tetons near the Wyoming/Idaho border, the Targhee Bluegrass Festival is the perfect combination of mountain culture and mountain recreation. This year’s all-star lineup includes the Sam Bush Band, Trampled By Turtles, and the Infamous Stringdusters.
After the festival, take some time to mountain bike in the mountains around nearby Driggs, hike up Table Mountain (12 miles round-trip), or journey back over the pass and do some climbing in the Tetons.
Telluride Blues and Brews Festival, September 13-15th
Classic blues musicians, locals microbrews, and the postcard-worthy view of Bridal Veil Falls—what more could you ask for in a music festival? At the end of the weekend, after you’ve seen such legends as John Hiatt, Jim James, and Melissa Etheridge, take advantage of the varied landscape. Book a rafting trip on the San Miguel River, bike the trails outside of town, or, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, tackle one of the area’s 14ers.